NPL preview: Springvale v Victory

Melbourne Victory begins its NPL 3 Victoria campaign away to the Springvale White Eagles on Friday.

Summary

Victory makes the trip to City Vista Recreation Reserve to kick off its season after its 2020 NPL campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The game was moved to Fraser Rise after recent resurfacing of the grounds at the Serbian Sports Centre.

It will again take a youthful squad into the season as its youngsters look to continue growing.

Aaron Anderson, Brandon Lauton, Birkan Kirdar, Jay Barnett and Zaydan Bello all featured for Victory during the 2019 NPL season and have played in the A-League this campaign.

There was also no Foxtel Y-League season, with the 2020/21 campaign cancelled.

Victory will again play its home matches at Epping Stadium, with 12 of its 22 games to be played at the ground.

The last time Victory and Springvale met was in June 2019, playing out a goalless draw at Epping Stadium.

General Manager – Football Drew Sherman's pre-match thoughts

"It's a completely new set of faces from the players we last saw compete in NPL back in 2019. As is the nature in youth development the turnover in teams can be quite high, however there is a nucleus that remains from the Y-League Grand Final appearance back in early 2020. 

"The boys have had a positive and long pre-season together since returning to training following the COVID lockdown and performances of individuals in this period have already seen guys like Dalibor Markovic and Zaydan Bello debut in the A-League.

"We're really excited to be returning to competition, NPL provides us with the chance to test our emerging talents against senior players and is fundamentally important in the player development process. However, we can't ignore the fact that this competition, although has a focus on preparing our players, it's also about learning what it takes to win games. We are looking to get off to a positive start in that fashion on Friday evening in the opener against Springvale White Eagles. 

"The early games in competition can always be cagey, every team will be aspiring to achieve promotion and have a successful season so to some extent it's hardest to prepare. We've focussed on developing our style of play, our structures, our ability to try to control games and create goalscoring opportunities, we're hopeful to see the guys implement that in the season opener."

This week

NPL 3 Victoria: Springvale White Eagles v Melbourne Victory (Friday, March 19 at 8.15pm AEDT at City Vista Recreation Reserve, Fraser Rise)
U21 NPL 3 Victoria: Springvale White Eagles v Melbourne Victory (Friday, March 19 at 6.15pm AEDT at City Vista Recreation Reserve, Fraser Rise)
U19 NPL 3 Victoria: Springvale White Eagles v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, March 20 at 11.00am AEDT at City Vista Recreation Reserve, Fraser Rise)
U17 NPL North: Moreland Zebras v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, March 20 at 3.00pm AEDT at De Chene Reserve, Coburg)
U16 NPL North: Moreland Zebras v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, March 20 at 1.00pm AEDT at De Chene Reserve, Coburg)
U15 NPL North: Moreland Zebras v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, March 20 at 11.15am AEDT at De Chene Reserve, Coburg)
U14 NPL North: Moreland Zebras v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, March 20 at 9.30am AEDT at De Chene Reserve, Coburg)

Last week

U17 NPL North: Victory U16s 1 (Noble 43') Hume City 4
U16 NPL North: Victory U15s 3 (Kellis 17', Mandic 24', Sibanda 64' og) Hume City 1
U15 NPL North: Victory U14s 1 (Wico 42') Hume City 3
U14 NPL North: Victory U13s 4 (Small 7', Bovalino 34'/43', Houridis 47') Hume City 2